tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN February 27, 2014 11:00pm-1:01am EST
a tremendous amount of time i decided myself on november the 20th win in this made up crisis came out if you look at the a executive calendar at that time, the leader could have moved through the executive calendar and of three weeks if you use the rules we already had what i finally decided that the seven years and candidly sometimes in the minority you have an opporunity to affect things more than if you are in the majority.
it takes 60 votes to make things happen. you find yourself if you're willing to try to solve problems . seeing what's happening in my state senate, it well not ever function with what we now have in place. it is not going to. and i'm going to do everything that i can. this past recess i spent a week traveling the country. i have never done that. i want to see the send function again. i want to see estivate things. the majority gets a set the agenda but the minority had their opportunity to amend. what that means is you have to take tough votes. senator reid is unwilling to announce the -- he is on the
land for his majority members to be in a position of taking tough votes which is what this is all about. i understand that there will be all kinds of ways that minorities will attempt to have things heard that let's face it, less think about this, the biggest foreign relations issue facing our nation that has come about in recent times. one that we have been dealing with for 20 years, we have something occurring in the united states senate is kept from debating that issue. that is totally reprehensible. if the president does not like what the senate and house of representatives has to say, he can veto it.
i don't understand. there are some many issues that have been this way. the numbers of minority amendments that we have had in the last six months, i don't know, five or six, five or six maybe. that is beyond belief. i understand the frustration that people have been the avenues that people are taking. unfortunately because we have someone who is willing to debate the major issues of the day. >> concerned about the fact that there are no more than 40 ambassadors who have been waiting more than 100 days. when they get to the full senate and will be held up.
what a you going delicate this done if anything? to your republican colleagues who are concerned, not having ambassadors and some of these countries, saudi arabia as one of them, what if anything to you doing? >> we want to move back as quickly as we can adjust tell whether from secretary cheri yesterday thinking me for moving the nominees as quickly through as leah. they want to get there kids in school. the kids and not coming mid-year
. it was uncomfortable for some members to do that, but it seemed like the right thing to do. one of the things -- and i don't know of this has been discussed publicly or not. at the end of the year you know because you cover these things closely with typically move out a ton of nominees. there was already an agreement before the notable -- november november 20th action to move for the nominees through by unanimous consent. what has happened is they take this unprecedented action, and you understand that he asked the parliamentarian that he appointed if he could do something parliamentarian said no. he then moves to override that with 51 votes. what has happened is the leader, leader mikhail has informed
using other a examples which is the time to debate. again, senator reid actually cost the state department nominees so, you know, it is unfortunate. hopefully at some point we will return to the rules that have been long established. this type of thing has not happened in 200 years of senate activity or in the middle of the session something like this occurred. i will say, i believe that if mcconnell is the majority leader after this session is over you will see how people are able to use the rule it does mean you
have to work all week long. does not -- it does mean you don't work just three days a week. it does mean a you have got to use, as you mentioned, smelling of the jet fuel at the end of the weak to cause the end of a debate on a bill. there are ways of doing that. other leaders have done it and it is unfortunate. the senator has taken the action that he has taken which has had the impact of now as having these empty posts because obviously if you understand his position, though he -- dislike overseeing in russia committee gave no push back from the united states. why not do the things that i'm doing. if you don't have any push back and obviously people see the way
to do even more of those things. >> run down every one of those nominees. >> that will let the pressure of a little bit at a time because as i mentioned there is unanimous consent agreement to let these through with no. because of what the senator did things have slowed down. >> senator, you have this morning. i was just wondering if you could talk about the relations they you see between the white house and the democrats. >> the people back, did not enjoy it.
>> i'm not going to the -- but in the big picture would it be helpful to have those again? >> i tell you, look, i wake up every day. you have to. okay. you know, is a brand new day. good night's sleep. let's go. what a privilege it is to represent people of this country . candidly, let's face it, i represent tennessee, but the things that i am involved in -- i am not a parochial senator. and focus on the big issue of the day. and tennessee has gotten used to that, not because of someone like myself, but we have gotten good centers in tennessee in the past and they expect them to be involved in the big issues of the day. so i wake up with optimism. i will tell you, the dinners that we had, they were good.
the president handled himself very good. top people. he knew the policies that people had put forth. aware of who they were. i have to tell you, he did a good job of these dinners. that led to, as you know, the group meetings. i was one of five or six senators that ended that meeting with the white house multiple times to try to achieve some type of fiscal reform. i have said this to the folks we were dealing with. i think have said this publicly. that process, believe it or not, at the end the meetings ended in august. and a very pleasant person to be around. people ask me what it is like.
it was like a saturday round of golf. it was -- a lot of fun. it really was. kind of interesting. of think anyone ran down to put it in the hall. we had to quit on 15 because we had as said of. the president was busy -- visibly wanting to play. i enjoyed collecting $20 that he lost. but the talks broke down for us. was evident to me that they were never serious. we put a lot of effort into offering very specific proposals i do not know if you remember, and there is no reason that you would. i wrote a detailed bill about one year and three months ago. very, very detailed. you know, you have all these
gain meetings. and i think any of us ever saw word of legislative language. retook it upon ourselves to write a very detailed bill that addressed all of these bipartisan daunts. and i gave it to the white house, pelosi, reid, and said, look, use these. he's had been scored. bipartisan solutions. we used many of those in the presentations of the white house. at the end of the day in the last meeting it was evident, the last meeting that we had with them was about one thing. is no white house really interested in doing this things in intense form of way to save medicare? and to deal with the issues -- are you really interested in that? and the answer was no, we are not. they are not interested. and so we left the meetings.
what they did was immediately -- they sometimes forget that we talk to our friends on the other side of the aisle. i mean, you know, i know that we have not accomplished much together, but we talk to our friends on the other side of the aisle and immediately they got on the phone and reported in the wall street journal. i don't know if you go back and read the comments, but we said nice things. we could not get there but we appreciated. what they said was the reason we got nowhere was the republicans would not raise taxes. that was not what the meeting was about. a meeting was about are you really willing to address the issues of medicare. today we have people over their lifetime, $120,000 as a couple in medicare taking out 359,000 out of medicare which is relevant. it does not work. people pay them for one-third of the cost.
so i would say that, i would not engage in those conversations that power them because i do not think that they were ever earned i think it was optics. it was disappointing. if anything, when i left there, it broke down. immediately thereafter we then had this eerie in crisis. just a few weeks later the president asked us to, first of all, it appeared to me that we unilaterally were going to embark on activities. the president then asked for us to write an authorization for use of force which we did, and i was glad to do. one of the highlights of my time was working with menendez and others to craft something to pass on a vote out of the senate. then we went down the path. so i would say and unless you are serious about solving problems. unless you are serious about stretching your base, which i would say this president is
afraid to stretch is based, appealing to the base right now has been a problem. that is why we have not had the problem to solve the major problems of the day. he is afraid of is based, not willing to take his basin to stretch it into a place where he actually reaches an accommodation with the aside. i would say, please don't do that again. unless you are in earnest wanted to sell a problem, don't do that again. you're better off not acting like you want to solve a problem when you really not. that breaks it down. >> senator, another question. i was wondering if you know if you influence the way -- you gave them a lot to think about. nothing wrong with that. >> i think the biggest impact on the election -- first of all,
and has been widely reported that when i made those comments about the those that had been cast there were 1300 votes cast. and when i made those comments the local entity, the volkswagen plan, volkswagen in germany, with the volkswagen plan, by the way, made in germany cannot volkswagen, not vote light in chattanooga. but they immediately said -- came out and said that the outcome of the election would have no impact on whether the plant was built, the additional line was put there are not. in some ways that was a little bit of a victory. i did not like that comment coming out because i believe that the comments that i made were absolutely true. i would never -- let me tell you this, as much as i don't like the uaw and what they have done to our country, i would never,
ever in my public discourse say something that i did not believe to be 100 percent true, never. i would never say that. never would that happen. it is not worth it to me. this is a public service to me. so the company immediately came madden said that regardless of the outcome the vote would not have an impact. in some ways that was a major victory. it was a major victory begins inside the plant the uaw was telling everyone unless they organize, unless the uaw took them over the plant was not coming near. 300 votes left. the biggest impact was those people on the ground inside the plants, employees that new, that understood that the uaw was only there for one reason, survival. it was nothing, nothing that the uaw offered them to enhance male or their families' lives.
the community understood full well the negative impact that they would have on our community in our ability to attract jobs. i don't know. did the president, and on friday he said, i cannot believe people care more about german stockholders than they do the wages of the people who work in the plan. you all saw that. but i don't know. at the end of the day i think what we did was paid attention. how many people did not read the paper? i don't know. the volkswagen plan every morning, riveted around the papers trying to decide.
they are reading. every morning. add just don't know. at think the bigger impact really was the grass roots efforts that took place within the plan where people had to in between and embrace, and form below the fact that -- and most employees got it. all they were was dollar signs he had been selling out there saying that they could not survive with that organizing the south. i think you know that the uaw had to sell 300 million in assets just to survive. they're selling investments just to survive. i don't know. who knows. i think that public officials should be able to say what they
him >> they call this the most risky veterans veterans reform bill in decades. it touches on a lot of things. it is a major expansion of the a. creates a dental pilot program to see if the v.a. can in the future make it feasible to provide full dental care for veterans. it is an expansion of the v.a. caregiver plan for wooded veterans. it increases the eligibility of in-state tuition under the g.i. bill. it loosens the in-state .esidency requirements
authorizes 27 medical facility leases in 18 states, along with puerto rico. among the other things it does, it finishes off the repeal of the cost of living exemption that congress has been chipping away at the last couple of years. >> it has been on the senate floor for a couple of days. what was the roadblock that it? >> there were a couple of things. what eventually stopped it in its tracks was there was a budget point of order made by jeff sessions on the budget committee. basically, because the fiscal year we are in right now, it increased the budget by 261 million dollars. they voted 56-41, four shy of
the number they needed to waive that. >> you tweeted about that. why did another republican support it? >> there were a number of things. a lot of them want to stick to those budget caps in the budget law. a number of them do not like the bill in general and just thought it was an opportunity to put that on the shelf. a number of republicans expressed concern about expanding v.a., that would flood an overburdened system. a number expressed concern with the way that senator sanders wanted to pay for the bill. there were a number of issues. not just the mandatory number.
>> one of the headline grabbing issues was the issue with iran. what was that about? >> basically, what republicans have been circling the wagons on in the last few days is an amendment by richard burke on the veteran affairs committee. it is a substitute amendment that would narrow some of those benefit revisions. it had another round of iran sanctions. more or less what was proposed by senators menendez and kirk in the last couple of months. their contention was that it had 59 cosponsors, and they thought that it was time that a got a vote on the floor. it did not. >> you talked about chairman sanders. you attended his press conference. you tweeted he rejects the idea that the veterans bill was a political issue.
says it could have been a political winner for both parties. any chance it will be revived? >> that is unclear at this point. the budget point of order against the bill was a pretty strong blow to the legislation. under the rules now, because the point of order, it heads back to the committee. they have to now make corrections to the bill to comply with the budget law. senator sanders said he will go back at it. and, we will have to see from there. this sent it back to committee. >> connor o'brien is a defense reporter for cq roll call. you can read his reporting it cqrollcall.com. follow that as well on twitter. thank you for joining us. >> thank you.
>> president obama told president karzai there will be no u.s. troop presence on the ground after 2015. talking aboutng, the future of afghanistan. live coverage from the u.s. fridayte of peace starts at 9:15 eastern. the over criminalization task force was charged with improving current statutes. >> the new c-span.org website makes it easier than ever to keep tabs on washington dc and share your finds the at facebook, twitter, and other social networks.
users in -- easy search functions. clipsmake it easy to make and share them with your friends. you can send links to your video clips via e-mail. find the share tools or look for the green icon links throughout our site. watch washington on the new c-span.org. >> at a democratic national committee meeting, vice president joe biden urged fellow democrats not to apologize for the party policy decisions. the vice president was critical of the gop. his remarks are 25 minutes.
>> mr. vice president, on behalf -- i want to thank you for appearing on the beginning of seth meyers show the other night. we are proud of seth meyers. thank you. [applause] >> i apologize i am late. this is one occasion i cannot blame the president. as debbie new, i usually have that as a legitimate excuse. not today.
that meeting was long over. knows,, ie chairman was a united states senator. i have to make one public admission. i still have an overwhelming prejudice to delaware. the delaware delegation asked to meet with me about an issue. i did it because my son is the attorney general. if it hurts him, i get indicted. [laughter] would you acknowledge i was joking when i said that? it is good to see you all. i know you have had good meetings that have been going on for a while. i'm going to get to the point. i am here for to express reasons. -- i amhe president
sincere. the firsone is, the 2014 election. the second one is, building the democratic national committee inuit powerhouse that works 2016, 2018, 2020. i have committed to go anywhere because i am so tired of hearing about the demise of the democratic party. we are having trouble keeping up -- give me a break. there is no republican party. i wish there were. the president delivers the state of the union. four comments. why are we in trouble?
buddy john donal o and i ran ago, and he years is my great friend. i can't think of the time since i was elected in 72 where the majority of the american people agreed with us on every major issue we are for. that sounds like hyperbole, but think about it. raising minimum wage, 71%. early childhood education, 86%. checks, 90%. marriage equality 55%. building the affordable care act instead of repealing it, 55%. comprehensive immigration reform -- 60% of registered republican voters support it. 73% democrat. ending the war in afghanistan.
before,never been there so what are we worried about? about is therried koch brothers and their friends bringing in millions and millions of dollars, but guys -- [applause] i want these guys to believe money can buy an election if you are a bad set of goods, and what questionepublicans for mark i really want to see a strong republican party. i mean that sincerely. wishody said if i had one to have a strong republican party. meeting with my republican colleagues, i still get along
and admire a lot of them. they shake hands and say, you got a deal, and between four hours later they say, i cannot do it. they are not misleading me. they are being honest. when i say we need a strong republican party, that's what i mean. it's always about compromise. heterogeneoust democracy in the history of the world. it requires compromise. -- when you think our success the end or failure is going to depend on the ability of all of you. you have the go most -- you have got the most important job. you put intoeffort
being chairman of our state parties and those who work under you is incredible. i know it is because of what you do to get us elected. i think our ability and 2014 -- everybody thinks about 2016. that's light years away. just think about what is at stake for all that brought us into this process to begin with. none of you are in this for the a job inless there is
am unaware of. place with ag a chance to make some progress for the american people. i think this woman does an incredible job. [applause] we have flown tens of thousands of miles together going around the country and around the world . me, and iwith -- whyr you asking me did you say yes when he asked you to consider to be vetted, because i asked the president of question. i said i only have one question.
really mean what you say about the middle class? do you really mean what you say when you say believe it is the aperture which -- through which pass, theicans have to wealthy do really well, and the poor have a shot. that's who he is. that's everything we have focused on trying to get through this not rush fire -- this forest fire we inherited, and everything we are focused on now. there is a reason for america's strength. we have the most powerful, broadest, deepest middle-class in the world. that's the thing that keeps us strong. siege, andeen under i am not blaming this all on president bush's administration. the middle-class economic standing began to erode 20 years
ago. a lot has changed. is the only thing barack and i are looking at measuring the eight years we will have is if we can answer the following question. it's going to be easy for a mom and a dad in the neighborhood to be able to turn to a child and say, it's going to be ok. i mean this literally. is it going to be ok? think about all the people in your states raised in those neighborhoods who are not certain they can turn to their kid and say it's going to be ok. you are going to be able to live a life as well as i did. you are going to have a job as rewarding. the list goes on. that's what this is all about.
do that.ow to republicans used to know how to do that. i am being serious. how to better the circumstance of hard work in america. these are not people looking for a handout. these are people incredibly reluctant to take anything they think is a handout. all they are looking for is an even shot. all of the programs we are talking about are the same things. everybody knows that. job.a not a minimum-wage job, even if we raise the minimum wage, which we will. it's about more than that. it's about looking at your kid -- what we grew up, we didn't have much. my mother was certain i could be anything i wanted to be.
alsoutely determined but certain if we did the same things we were supposed to do. look at the jobs out there. right now we have over 100,000 jobs in america with high-tech firms that cannot find people qualified to take the job. that's why the president asked me to head up this task force in terms of job creation. look at what is out there now. we have 300,000 young women and men coming back from afghanistan and iraq with posttraumatic stress, with traumatic rain injury. we are short tens of thousands of psychiatric nurses. why do we have a program for nurses to continue to get paid well getting additional training? why aren't we making sure we size up the companies and community colleges to get the exact training needed to fill the job? there are things we can do, but we got to go beyond that. we got
to go behind that desk beyond that because how many of you know someone who is wondering, daughter just or graduated from college, and they are back at their room in the through lack of trying. where are the jobs people can look to knowing if they work hard they can end up making 70, 80, 90, $100,000 a year, consistent with their education? there's a whole range of things we know we can do. there's no reason not to do them. i am not going to go into them now. the other thing is education. with all the governors. some frankly, there are pretty good republican governors out there. pre-k.mple, there's as many republican
governors as democratic governors who get it. debate aboutnger a whether or not getting a kid into an education program that is real at age four doesn't dramatically impact their prospects of success across the board. what the devil are we doing? we are being stymied in the house and the senate by republicans when the american people get it. they know it. they understand it. governors are out there doing it. you understand if there is anything needed -- i got in trouble talking about infrastructure at airports in america. by the way, i was at that particular airport and met with two employees emma and they wanted a picture, and they said, by the way, we agree with you. in a situation where we
have the american society of civil engineers. toy say we are going to need trillion to keep up with infrastructure. we are the most powerful nation in the world. we have 20th century infrastructure when china and other countries are investing 20% of gdp to improving infrastructure. why do companies come? why do they stay? they are going to build near a port where they can get their product out cheaply, quickly, and to market quicker than anywhere else. debbie and i were talking about everything from galveston all the way to the coast. they are going to carry twice the cargo. they take a 50 foot draft. that is going to be coming
through the panama canal. is coming to or going from the united states, yet we have only a few ports to accommodate them. what are we doing? this used to be a straightforward proposition republicans acknowledged as well as democrats. hope here.me recent discussions between the president of the united states and the speaker of the house, because we have been pushing democrats, saying, maybe we do need to fund a highway trust system because it is owing to be bankrupt and be out of money in september or october. want to makeoint i his we know how to make things work. it's not rocket science. there is a portion of the other party who is not conservative. it's just antigovernment. i think a masquerade and don't
deserve -- i shouldn't say don't deserve, but i don't think it fits to call them conservative in the traditional sense of conservative political thought. it's about antigovernment, so we reform,corporate tax which we think we need anyway, and take the $150 billion into infrastructure. your states, you are not governors. you are the state chair. if you picked to infrastructure projects you thought were critical to your state, how many jobs, how many opportunities, how much infusion of capital and optimism occurs when that occurs? to hear people telling me anymore that we cannot get done now. i have ever done that i consider worthwhile from the crime bill to helping get this out of a rack, it took time.
if we didn't start where we started, it would have never happened. it would have never occurred. there are so many important things to mention. it will happen. it is inevitable. deal the question is how many people get hurt or how many people get left behind the longer it takes to get this done. i think wemessage is should not apologize for a single thing. we should lay out in each of the races in your county, city, state, congressional races -- this is who we are. this is what we stand for. are going to do. the obligation the president and i have in addition to trying to raise the funds to make this
viable -- i agree and have told my colleagues i will campaign for or against you, which ever helps most, but i think i am signed up for 120 races. the president has given me rain race we canvery that disclose where i might be able to be helpful. is doing the same thing. -- wee to make more clear have to define more precisely what is it we are about. what are the priorities? i know this wasn't supposed to be a speech speech, and i have taken advantage of you more than i had a right to, but this is the beginning of a process i am urging you to do. let's make sure if we run on what we believe -- if we won -- if we run on our values, which
happens to be totally consistent with where the american people think we should be on the substance of this set of issues, we will win. we will win. let's not get too hung up on the idea of the super pack. attention, but it gets down to people saying, my name is joe biden. i am a candidate for congress. here is what i am for. we should always agree there should he comparisons. forwill find they are not much. i'm not being facetious. what they are for they don't want to talk about it. they don't want to talk about the fact they think there should tax break to,000 people making $1 million. they don't want to talk about the fact that you can continue tax break for oil
companies who don't need it and it should be going to other neighborhoods. they don't want to talk about the fact they are against early education. they don't want to talk about the things we are for and we are too shy. about it talking enough in my opinion. sayingi will conclude by -- i know i am always referred to in the press as the white house optimist like i am the new guy on the team. flattered by that. i like to think of myself is that, but i have been around longer than all of you, but i am more optimistic today than i was when i was a 29-year-old kid elected to the united states senate. the american people are tired of being tired. they are tired of being told what we can't do.
they are tired of the republican party saying, narrow the aperture. this debate of the middle class is 49,800. the middle class is about being not to own your home, rented, being able to send them to a park and not worrying whether they will be beat up or mud, be able to send them to a local school where if they do well they would get a chance to go to college and if they get there you can pay for them to be there, and in the meantime if your parents are in trouble you can help them in the hope is you will never have to have your children help you. that's what middle class is about. that's who we are. [applause] folks, the concluding comment i want to make is don't listen to any of those folks who tell you america's best days are behind.
i mean it sincerely. if you did a poll, and i asked you who is going to be the leading economy, united states or china? that's not patriotism. that's reality. america is better positioned than any other nation to dominate in the 21st-century. china, god love them. i spend a lot of time in china and a lot of time with president jean. .- president ching they don't have enough water to take care of their need for the next 25 years. they not only have an energy problem and the pollution problem. they have a problem of fundamental shift in their society from an agrarian society to a society made up of cities arty 5 million people. they are in a position where they have real problems.
we want to see do well, manufacturers coming from europe as well as china and the far east? gas is seven times cheaper here than it is there. epicenterng to be the of energy in north america throughout the first half of the 20th century. that's not a boast. it's a pure, natural fact. going for us.hing everything. education. best our workers are three times as productive. that's not the kids they are bad. we are better. it's time we remind ourselves just how powerful we are politically, economically, and militarily. use that power to generate the
kind of education system, the kind of job opportunities, and the kind of opportunities that grow the rest of the world. there's not a leader in the world who wouldn't trade positions with the united states. say, woe maury povich is me. come on. i have a simple closing comment. get up. get up and get out and win in 2014. talk about what we value. get up. [applause]
start talking about what is to be done with the alien population, which includes german and japanese and italian foreign national. the japanese american population on the west coast, they were they weret en masse. removed. they were forced to leave, and they were put in camps surrounded by barbed wire in the interior, and they were not charged with anything in particular. newspapersmost strongly supported the removal of japanese americans. it was a very popular policies locally. the civil rights organizations largely based back east did not pay much attention to it. in all the newspapers on the west coast they had editorials talking about how the rights of
all have to be protected and we should fight prejudice in all without ever saying the word japanese specifically, so it's almost as if they wanted to say something but were nervous about doing so. i call it an awkward silence or an uncomfortable silence about this issue. >> this weekend, book to be an american history tv look behind the life in salem, oregon. >> the state department released its global human rights report card for 2013. secretary of state john kerry said. is leading and human rights violations. he also talked about attacks against lgbt communities around the world in recent political
conflicts in ukraine. >> before we start. >> good morning, everybody. morning --o allergies this morning. i am delighted to be here this morning for the second human rights report i have issued as secretary. particularly pleased to be here with our acting assistant secretary for human rights and who is performing these asponsibilities incapacity an interim assistant secretary but who has done a spectacular job and has led the department
in a year-long process to track and make the assessments reflected here, so i think them for a job particularly well done on this year's human rights strugglehe fundamental for dignity, for decency in the treatment of human beings between each other and between is a drivingtizens force in all of human history, and from our own nation's this is a workw in progress. was written into our constitution before it was written out. we know the struggle for equal --hts for women, for others
for lgbt and others is an ongoing struggle, and it's because of the courage and commitment of citizens in each generation that the united states has come closer to living up to our own ideals, even as we come together to issue a report to other nations, we hold ourselves to a high standard, and we expect accountability at home. we know we are not perfect. don't speak with any arrogance whatsoever but with a concern for the human condition. not beenourney has without great difficulty and at ases contradiction, but even we remain humble about the challenges of our own history, we are proud that no country has more opportunity to advance the cause of democracy, and no country is as committed to the cause of human rights as we are.
this year's report we think is especially timely. it comes on the heels of one of the most momentous years in the struggle for greater rights and freedoms in modern history. in syria, hundreds were murdered when adead of night disaster occurred at the hands of a dictator who decided to infect the air of damascus with , and many more have been unfortunately confined to die under a barrage of barrel bombs, scud missiles, artillery, and other conventional weapons. bangladesh, thousands of workers perished in the greatest workplace safety disaster in history. from nigeria to russia to iran, countries,some 80
lgbt communities face discriminatory laws and practices that attacked their basic human dignity and undermine their safety. we are seeing new laws like the anti-homosexuality uganda signew earlier this week which not only makes criminals of people for who they are, but punishes those who defend the human rights that are universal birthrights. these laws continue to a global trend of rising violence and discrimination against lgbt persons and their supporters. they are an affront to every reasonable conscience in the united states. with our lgbt brothers and sisters as be stand for freedom, justice, equal rights for all people. so, with this year's report, we joined with many other nations in reaffirming our commitment to a world where speaking one's
mind does not lead to prosecution, and where professing one's love does not lead to persecution. a world where practicing or changing one's faith does not lead to imprisonment. where marching peacefully in the street does not get you beaten up in a blind alley or even killed in plane site. let me be clear. this is not just some high-minded exercise. this is the most comprehensive authoritative and factual review of the state of human rights globally and every american should be proud of it. that is why acting assistant secretaries of the state department bureau of democracy, human rights and labor and our embassies and consulates around the world have spent countless hours researching and writing these reports, engaging
activists, talking to governments and analyzing ngo and media reports. that is why they capture the attention of dictatorships and democracies alike. this is about accountability. it is about ending impunity. it is about a fight that has gone on for centuries as long as human beings have been able to think, write and speak and act on their own. the struggle for rights and dignity couldn't be more relevant to what we are seeing transpired across the globe. the places where we face some of the greatest national security challenges today are also places where governments deny basic human rights. that is no coincidence. it is particularly no coincidence in an age where people have access and want access to more information and
the freedom to be able to act -- to access information and be able to act on the basis of that information. that is what has always characterized democracies and free people. it is no coincidence that in north korea, the u.n. commission of inquiry recently found clear and compelling evidence of wholesale torture and crimes against humanity. reports that people have been at byed and fired artillery, fired at by antiaircraft weapons that literally obliterate human beings, and this has occurred with people in the masses being forced to watch. a form of gross and other intimidation and oppression. that thecoincidence
first use of a weapon of mass destruction instruction anywhere in the last quarter century came from a dictatorship in syria in trying to suppress a popular uprising. in trying to suppress the aspirations of young people who simply wanted jobs and education and opportunity. it is now: since that the brutal violence we have seen in south sudan is rooted in cycles of violence stemming from past abuses, marginalization, discrimination and unwillingness to listen. so the united states of america will continue to speak out. without a hint of arrogance or apology, on behalf of people who stand up for their universal rights. we will stand up in many cases for those who are deprived of the opportunity to be able to stand up for themselves. wherel do so in venezuela
the government has confronted peaceful protesters by deploying armed vigilantes, by imprisoning students and by severely limiting freedoms of expression and assembly. the solution to venezuela's problems are not found through violence. they will not be found through violence. only through dialogue with all venezuelans in a climate of mutual respect. we will do it in sri lanka where the government still has not answered basic demands for accountability and reconciliation, where attacks on civil society activists, journalists and religious minorities sadly still continue. our concern about this ongoing situation has led the united states to support another u.n. human rights council resolution at the march session. we will do so because we know countries that deny human rights and human dignity challenge our interests as well as human interests. we also know countries that
advance those values, those countries that embrace these thats, our countries actually create opportunities. which ien to tunisia just visited last month, we have seen how national dialogue and democratic progress can make countries more stable and make them stronger partners for peace and prosperity. in ukraine, as we just saw in real time in the last days, tens of thousands took to the streets to demonstrate against the power of -- to demonstrate again the power of people to be able to demand a more democratic and accountable governance and to stand up even against those who would snipe from ruth's and take s and lives -- from roove take their lives in an effort to have their voices heard. in burma, we saw a moving away
not just from dictatorship to toward a more productive partnering with the united states and the international community. there are plenty of examples of places that choose a different road and that strive to make it work. as today's report makes clear, burma still faces a normal challenge from reforming and undemocratic constitution to ending violence against religious and ethnic minorities. we must continue to encourage progress even as we speak honestly about the problems that persist. in my first year as secretary of state, i have been very fortunate to see with my own eyes what we can accomplish when we see our power and use our power and influence to empower others to be able to change things for the better. by the civilspired
society activists that i have met with and many of the countries i have been to. people who are standing up for their fundamental rights to speak out and to associate freely. i am inspired by the 86-year-old human rights pioneer i met in moscow who has spent a lifetime fighting for the basic rights that we take for granted here in the united states. i am inspired by a group of young southeast asian land rights advocates that i met in the regional forum last year who understand that societal problems are best solved when the government works with civil society, not against it. the truth is that some of the greatest accomplishments in expanding the cause of human rights have, not because of judicialve decree or fiat, but through the awesomely courageous acts of individuals. fighting the
government transparency in china alex who is demanding justice and transparency and accountability in belarus. ramonr it is angel arzanaga who is wrapping for greater political freedom in -- who is writing for freedom of expression in ethiopia. every single one of these people are demonstrating a brand of moral courage that we need now more than ever. , there is another name on all of our minds. that is of course the first human rights report since the passing of one of the most courageous individuals of all time, nelson mandela. mandela was more than an inspiration. he was a model.
beenver the world, i have in homes and offices where his unmistakable face was on posters and print. i have met so many young kids names nelson in africa and other places where people are aspiring for real change. his influence was just that powerful. even in his absence, the example that he said will long endure. we carry on his work for those who are walking, who were sitting in prison cells sometimes unknown to anybody except their family, who are protesting from cairo to caracas to kiev. we have to ask ourselves as we do this, if we don't stand with these brave men and women, what do we stand for? who will stand with them? if we don't give voice to those who are voiceless, then who do we speak for and who will give voice? the demand for human dignity, i
believe, president obama believes, i think all of us believe in this country, is unstoppable. today, we reaffirm our commitment to stand with the many who seek dignity and against the few who deny it. that is how we live up to our ideals. that is how we will meet the demands of this moment. that is how we will build a more stable and peaceful world. --ore i turn things over to let me leave you with one final thought, we have a big agenda. you can see that. teammeans we need our full on the field so that we can get to work. frankly, it is unacceptable that so many of our nominees, countless numbers of ambassadors to very important countries, are awaiting confirmation. our national security is not served by keeping many professionals, people who have waited patiently, in a
professional -- perpetual limbo. neither is our ability to support democratic rights and aspirations of people all over the world enhanced by what is happening. let me give you an example of what is happening. tom malinowski is a human rights champion whom the president has picked as his nominee to be the next assistant secretary for democracy, human rights and labor. tom has strong bipartisan support. we know of no objection to his nomination. none. yet he has been waiting more than 220 days to be confirmed. now is the time to send a strong signal that we are not content to sit on the sidelines. i ask and i hope that our colleagues in the senate will help tom malinowski get on the job so that we can continue to lead in these very kinds of issues that i have just laid out here today. we are ready to lead.
that is when america is at its best. that is the vision that has always inspired people and always will. with that understanding that we are committed to continue this important work to defend the rights of people all around the world, that is how we became a nation. that is how we will stay the nation that we want to be. with that, i thank you very much and i will leave it in the good hands of as rep. chairmanl reserve janet yellen told the fed committee that it is too early to tell what effect extreme weather conditions have had on the u.s. economy. that hearing is next on c-span. republican senator bob corker said thursday that he is worried russia will use political instability in ukraine as an excuse to invade the former soviet republic. later, vice president joe biden delivers remarks to a democratic party meeting.
>> on the next washington grieco of thebeth u.s. census bureau joins us. we will talk about u.s. population trends for noncitizens under the age of 35. we will also take your phone calls on the first lady's new food labeling nutrition initiative. you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. washington journal live each morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> is this a technique you hope will prove fruitful? i don't think that is any of your business. [laughter] reaganink the glamour of had less to do with his hollywood roots per se -- it wasn't the glamour of hollywood exactly. he did have something to do with
the skills and the grace that he acquired as an actor, the fact that he always hit his mark. like -- fielding those questions, he made it look effortless. that is another aspect of grammar -- glamour. people who were likely to support him politically could see in him sort of the ideal candidate, the ideal representation of their views. he didn't make them embarrassed in any way. they weren't waiting for him to fail. as he got older, that became more of an issue. in those early days, he had this kind of sprezzatura. that is a word i use in the book that comes from a 16th century book of the courtier. >> defining and using glamour,
i call this hearing to order. welcome dr. janet yellen as chair to deliver the federal reserve semi annual monetary policy report. chair yellen, i would like to congratulate you on your nomination and confirmation. in fact, the first time the woman has submitted the report to congress. chairman yellen, you a lot of important issues to focus on as chair including continued implementation of wall street reform, establishing policies to
improve financial stability and reduce systemic risk and providing appropriate monetary policy to support our economy. overall, i'm encouraged by the recent improvements in the economy. it appears that economic growth is picking up and mainstream economists expect stronger growth this year. this is good news. however, i'm concerned that the economic recovery is not being felt by every american. too many cities and towns across america have not fully recovered from the great recession and continues to struggle. long-term unemployment remains historically high. we see recent college graduates, many of whom are burdened by high student loan debt, have a tough time finding work.
income inequality is becoming more severe and more families are being squeezed out of the middle class. as such and while inflation remains weak, i caution the fed not to move too quickly to exit from its current policies until we are on solid fooding and the recovery is more widespread. while the fed's policies have helped the recovery, the feed can only do so much congress needs to act to ensure recovery is more widespread and generations of americans are not shut out of economic opportunity. we cannot solve our physical problems by imposing immediate and arbitrary cuts and we need to invest in the economy today to ensure future prosperity.
it is important we implement policies that work alongside monetary policy to help get americans back to work. chairman yellen -- actions are affecting the economy and where the economy is heading. i now turn to ranking member crapo for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and welcome, also, chair yellen on your first appearance before this committee as the chair of the federal reserve board of governors. today's hearing is an important opportunity to examine the current state of monetary policy. since your confirmation hearing in november, the fed has begun the process of tapering its quantitative easing purposes. the pace of quantitative easing purchases has come down by $20 billion. this is a welcome development
for those of us who disagree with the federal reserve's quantitative easing policy and prefer to see qe purchases end entirely later this year. by the time the fed stops expanding its balance sheet it will hold over $4 trillion in treasury and mortgage backed securities. former chairman bernanke suggested the fed might maintain the size of the balance sheet for some time rather than reducing it. this would mean the balance sheets to purchase those assets would remain in the financial system. rich manned fed president lacker has called these tinder on the books of the banking system. the fed will have to be jij lent to ensure the tools they have identified to manage the wind-down are sufficient to prevent market disruptions. these unconventional monetary tools have in my opinion failed to produce the promised
benefits. as noted economists recently observed, over the last four years the share of adults working has not increased and gdp has fallen further behind potential as we would have defined it in the fall of 2009. all that is to say that despite unprecedented amounts of monetary intervention and record low interest rates, businesses have not responded by hiring new workers. dr. yellen, you commented on the need to monitor the costs and risks of financial stability that current monetary policy creates. you also stated you believe monetary policy is most effective when the public understands what the fed is trying to do and how it plans to do it. i appreciate your commitment to openness and transparency. i look forward to your thoughts on how it will return to monetary policy and how you will communicate that to the public. i look forward to learning more about your perspective on the
implementation of the dodd-frank act and how different rules interact with each other and their impact on the economy at large. because of the size and complexity of these rules, it is paramount that the regulators strike the right balance without unduly harming the economy. this was evident most recently in december with the final volcker rule and the unintended and disproportionate effect on community banks with respect to their holdings. the economic impact of the recent -- doing business in the united states is yet to be seen. earlier reports indicate some foreign banks are moving their assets outside the united states, taking their market activities to friendlier jurisdictions. as you continue with the rule making process, i encourage you to do so without placing the u.s. marks at a competitive disadvantage or putting out
businesses of smaller firms that are no threat to our financial security. i certainly hope you will work with congress to identify statutory ambiguities in dodd-frank that prevent the fed from doing the right thing. lastly, we still have the government conservative tore ship of fannie mae and freddie mac which will create a long-term market distortion in this crucial segment of this economy. i look forward to hearing your thoughts on the need for this reform and bringing this five-year or dedeal to a close. welcome chairman yellen. i look forward to your testimony. >> thank you, senator crapo. to reserve time for questions, opening statements will be limited to the chair and ranking member. i would like to remind my colleagues that the record will be open for the next seven days for additional statements and materials. i'd like to welcome chair yellen. dr. yellen is serving her first term as chair of the board of
governors of the fastball system. she was sworn into office earlier this month. before that dr. yellen served as vice chair and member of the board of governors of the federal reserve system. she was also previously chair of the council of economic advisors. chair yellen, please begin your testimony. >> chairman johnson, senator crapo and other members of the committee, i'm pleased to present the federal reserve semi annual monetary policy report to the congress. in my remarks today, i will discuss the current economic situation and outlook before turning to monetary policy. i will conclude with an update on our continuing work on regulatory reform. first, let me acknowledge the important contributions of chairman bernanke. his leadership helped make our
economy and financial system stronger and ensured that the federal reserve is transparent and accountable. i pledge to continue that work. the economic recovery gained greater traction in the second half of last year. real gross domestic product is currently estimated to have risen at an average annual rate of more than 3.5% in the third and fourth quarters up from a 1.75% pace in the first half. the pickup in economic activity has fueled further progress in the labor market. about 1.25 million jobs have been added to payrolls since the previous monetary policy report last july and 3.25 million have been added since august 2012, the month before the federal reserve began a new round of
asset purchases to add momentum to the recovery. the unemployment rate has fallen nearly a percentage point since the middle of last year and 1.5 percentage points since the purchase of the current asset purchase program. nevertheless, the recovery in the labor market is far from complete. the unemployment rate is still well above levels that the federal open market committee participants estimate is consistent with maximum sustainable employment. those out of a job, more than six months, continue to make up an unusually large fraction of the unemployed. and the number of people who were working part time but would prefer a full-time job remains very high. these observations underscore the importance of considering more than the unemployment rate when evaluating the condition of
the u. schs. among major compon of gdp, household and business spending growth stepped up during the second half of last year. earlier in 2013, growth in consumer spending was restrained by changes in fiscal policy. as this restraint abated during the second half of the year, household spending accelerated, supported by job gains and rosing home values and equity prices. similarly growth in business investment started off slowly last year, but then picked up during the second half. reflikting improved sales prospects, favorable financing conditions. in contrast the recovery in the housing sector slowed in the wake of last year in the wake of last year's increasing mortgage rates. inflation remained low as the
economy picked up strength. with both the headline and core personal consumption expenditures or pce price indices rising only about 1% last year. well below the market committee's 2% projection of inflation over the longer run. some of the recent softness reflects factors that seem likely to prove transitory including falling prices for crude oil and declines in non-oil import prices. my colleagues on the fomc and i anticipate that economic activity and employment will expand at a moderate pace this year and next. the unemployment rate will continue to decline toward its longer-run sustainable level, and inflation will move back toward 2% over coming years. we have been watching closely the recent volatility in global
financial markets. our sense is that at this stage these developments do not pose a substantial risk to the u.s. economic outlook. we will, of course, continue to monitor the situation. mr. chairman, let me add as an aside that since my appearance before the house committee, a number of data releases have pointed to softer spending than many analysts had expected. part of that softness may reflect adverse weather conditions. but at this point it's difficult to discern exactly how much. in the weeks and months ahead, my colleagues and i will be attentive to signals that indicate whether the recovery is progressing in line with our earlier expectations. turning to monetary policy, let me emphasize that i expect a
great deal of continuity in the fomc's approach to monetary policy. i served on the committee as we formulated our current policy strategy and i strongly support that strategy which is designed to fulfill the federal reserve's statutory mandate of maximum employment and price stability. prior to the financial crisis, the fomc carried out monetary policy by adjusting its target for the federal funds rate. with that rate near zero since late 2008, we have relied on two less traditional tools, asset purchases and forward guidance to help the economy move toward maximum employment and price stability. both tools put downward pressure on longer-term interest rates and support asset prices. in turn, these more accommodative financial
conditions support consumer spending, business investment and housing construction adding impetus to the recovery. our current program of asset purchases began in september 2012 amid signs that the recovery was weakening and progress in the labor market had slowed. the committee said it would continue the program until there was a substantial improvement in the outlook for the labor market in the context of price stability. in mid 2013 the committee indicated that, if progress towards its objectives continued as expected, a moderation in the monthly pace of purchases would likely become appropriate later in the year. in december the committee judged that the cumulative progress toward maximum employment and the improvement in the outlook for labor market conditions
warranted a modest reduction in the pace of purchases from $45 billion to $40 billion per month offer term treasury securities and agency backed mortgage securities. at its january meeting, the committee decided to make additional reductions of the same magnitude if incoming information broadly supports the committee's expectation of on going improvement in labor market conditions and inflation moving back towards its longer run objective, the committee will likely reduce the pace of asset purchases in further measured steps at future meetings. that said, purchases are not on a preset course and the committee's decision about their -- decisions about their pace will remain contingent on its outlook for the labor market
and inflation as well as its assessment of the likely efficacy and costs of these purchases. the committee has emphasized a highly accommodative policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after asset purchases end. in addition, the committee has said since december 2012 that it expects the current low target range for the federal funds rate to be appropriate at least as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6.5%, inflation is projected to be no more than have a percentage point above our 2% longer run goal and longer term inflation expectations remain unanchored. crushing one of these thresholds will not automatically prompt an increase in the federal funds rate but will instead indicate only that it had become
appropriate for the committee to consider whether the broader economic outlook would justify such an increase. in december of last year and again this january the committee said that its current expectations based on its assessment of a broad range of measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations and readings on financial development developments is that it likely will be appropriate to maintain the current target range pour the federal funds rate well past the time that the unemployment rate declines below 6.5% especially if projected inflation continues to run past the 2% goal. i am committed to achieving both parts of our dual mandate, helping the economy return to full employment and returning
inflation to 2% while ensuring it does not run persistently above or below that level. i will finish with an update on progress of reg torry reforms and supervisory actions to strengthen the financial system. in october the federal reserve board proposed a rule to strengthen the liquidity positions of large and internationally active financial institutio institutions. together the other federal agencies, the board issued a final rule implementing the vom kerr rule which prohibits banking firms from engaging in short-term proprietary trading of certain financial instruments. in addition we recently finalized the rules implements enhanced prudent standards mandated by section 165 of the dodd-frank wall street reform and consumer protection act. on the supervisory front the
next round of annual capital stress tests of the largest 30 bank holding companies is under way and we expect to report results in march. regulatory and supervisory actions including those leading to substantial increases in capital and liquidity in the banking sector are making our financial system more resilient still important tasks lie ahead. we're looking to financial lies the proposed rule, strengthening the leverage ratio standards for u.s.-based systemically important global banks. we expect to issue proposals for a risk-based capital surcharge for those banks as well as for a long-term debt requirement to help ensure that these organizations can be resolved. in addition, we're working to advance proposals on margins for
non-clear derivatives consistent with a new global framework and are evaluating possible measures to address financial stability risks associated with short-term wholesale funding. we will continue to monitor for emerging risks including watching carefully to see if the regulatory reforms work as intended. since the financial crisis in the depths of the recession, substantial progress has been made in restoring the economy to health and in strengthening the financial system. still there is more to do. too many americans remain unemployed. inflation remains below our longer term objective, and the work of making the financial system more robust is not yet been completed. i look forward to working with my colleagues and many others to carry out the important mission
you have given the federal reserve. thank you. i'd be pleased to take your questions. >> thank you, chair yellen. as we begin questions, i will ask the clerk to put five minutes on the clock for each member. chair yellen, with inflation low and unemployment so high, does that give the fed some room to continue promoting full employment? >> chairman johnson, yes, it certainly does give us room to continue promoting full employment. and we have committed to do so and have made clear that we see an accommodative monetary policy is remaining appropriate for quite some time. there's no conflict at all at the moment between the two goals
that congress has assigned to us of promoting maximum employment and price stability. inflation is running well below our 2% target. as you indicated, that gives us ample scope to continue to try to promote a return to full employment and we're committed the to doing that. >> chair yellen, what approach is the fed taking with respect to insurance companies under the new rules implementing section 165 of dodd-frank? how would this interact with rules and capital requirements for insurance companies under the collins amendment? >> senator, we are looking very carefully to design an appropriate set of rules for companies with important
involvement in insurance. we recognize that there are very significant differences between the business models of insurance companies and the banks that we supervise, and we are taking the time that's necessary to understand those differences and to attempt to craft a set of capital and liquidity requirements that will be appropriate to the business model of insurance companies. i would say, however, that the collins amendment does restrict what is possible for the federal reserve in designing an appropriate set of rules. so it does pose some constraints on what we can do and we will do our very best to craft an appropriate set of rules subject to that constraint. >> in what ways do the s sock
make the sifi designation process more transparent? >> on this one, senator, i would say fsoc has provided the public with a good deal of information about the criteria that its using, the general criteria that it has established for attempting to determine whether or not an institution, an organization should be designated as a sifi. and in the cases of those organizations where it has made a designation, it's really provided a wealth of information about those organizations. there are also opportunities for companies that want to contest designation, to have an appeals
process. so there is really a well worked out process. as the fsoc goes on to consider other possible firms for designation, if it decides to use a different set of criteria, i think it's completely appropriate that the fsoc should also make clear if new criteria are being used to govern designations. >> how has recovery impacted wages and income inequality? and if so, what can congress do to address this major problem? >> well, senator, i think the issues of income inequality, of rising income inequality in this country really date back many decades, probably to the mid '80s when we began to see a very substantial widening of wage
gaps between more skilled and less skilled workers. this is a trend that unfortunately is continued almost unabated for the last 30 years. economists have debated exactly what the causes are, but technological change in globalization play a role. however, i think it's clear that the recession has placed an extremely high toll, particularly in special burdens on lower income workers. those workers and less educated workers have seen their unemployment rates rise disproportionately during the downturn, and so households and segments of our population that had already been suffering stagnant or declining incomes
for many years have seen the recession take a large toll. so there really has been a very large burden and it is our objective to try to get the economy back to full employment to alleviate that portion of the burd burden. things like education and training i think are on every economist's list of actions that congress could take early childhood education training more generally. those things certainly and others congress could consider to address these important issues. >> senator crapo. >> thank you, mr. chairman and chair yellen, again, welcome to the committee. >> thank you. >> i appreciated your comments a couple weeks ago to the house financial services committee when you discussed gse reform. at that point you said we still have a ace stem that has systemic risk.
reforming fannie and freddie is a priority for this committee. i'd like you to take a couple brief moments to discuss the need to bring private capital back into the market. >> senator, i strongly support and would urge congress to address the issue of gse reform. we've gotten a mortgage system that in a way, be factor sense remains very highly dependent on government backing. and it fails to meet the very important objective of success. securitization without systemic risk. there are a number of different ways in which congress could proceed with gse reform, depending on your assessment of appropriate priorities. in my personal view it's very important for congress to decide explicitly what the role of the
government should be in housing finance and there are a lot of possible choices available i think many terms of bringing private capital back into the market, we now have a system where almost all mortgages that are being granted in this country have government backing associated with it, and i think to see private capital return in meaningful amounts to the mortgage industry clarifying the rules of the road is important. so i would certainly urge congress to proceed in this area. >> thank you. i agree with you and appreciate your observations at this point. as i stated in my opening statement, i'm very concerned about dodd-frank implementation. i certainly hope that you will clearly communicate with congress if there are statutory ambiguities or obstacles that prevent the fed from doing the right thing when promulgating regulations. in that context, i'd just like
to ask if you agree -- when chairman bernanke was before us -- last year i think it was -- i asked him the same question. i'd like to know if you agree with him that the areas of the end users, swaps pushouts and reducing the regulatory burden on community banks are areas in which we need additional statutory attention to getting it right. >> so the three areas that you mentioned are ones that are high on our list of concerns, areas that we are looking at ourselves as we design the dodd-frank regulations, in all of these areas we're doing our very best to address in these areas you've mentioned issues that have been raised and that we consider quite appropriate. it makes sense to me that
congress should consider these areas as well. i want to assure you that we will do our best in writing regulations in these areas, however, to address the concerns that have been raised. >> thank you. i appreciate your attention to it. i also believe that you need additional clarification and strength in the statute to do it right. i hope that we'll be able to provide that from congress. next, in numerous hearings last year it was revealed that we need better international coordination on cross-border issues to ensure there are no undue interceptiruptions many financial system. immediate after the fed adjusted the 165 proposal for foreign banking last year, european commissioner's office issued a statement that the fed's rule conflicts with the international standards on cross-border cooperation in bank resolution. what concrete steps are you
taking to ensure effective coordination with your foreign counterparts to create a complementary regulatory regime? >> well, cooperation with our counterparts globally has been a core part of our approach to strengthening the financial system and putting in place regulations under dodd-frank. so we are very actively engaged through the financial stability board, through the bozal committee, through the relations we have with insurance regulators, attempting to craft regulations in all areas that are consistent globally and that mesh together as a successful system. in the area of foreign banking organizations and our rule writing which we finalized i guess week before last on
section 165, we faced important tradeoffs. the role of large foreign banking organizations in our capital markets has changed dramatically over the last 20 years. these organizations are among the largest and most systemically important organizations in the u.s. financial system. and we try to write a set of rules that provide a level playing field for both u.s. organizations and foreign banking organizations doing business in the united states. the rules we put in place, i believe, are really quite similar to what our own banking organizations face when they do business abroad. so we have tried to construct a set of rules that preserve the opportunity for cross border
international global capital flows, branches in agencies of foreign banking organizations can continue to operate without separate capital requirements in the united states. but it was important to put in place a set of rules directed to financial stability of our own markets. >> thank you very much. >> senator reid. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman and welcome, madam chair. the open market committee has several times made the point that we seem to be operating in course purposes, as the federal reserve is pursuing an expansive monetary policy, we're pursuing a very restricted fiscal policy. it would seem to me that if we were in harmony or compleme complementary, it would be better for the overall economy. there are several examples. our current debate about unemployment compensation, most
objective observers would suggest that could add from 180,000 to 200,000 jobs to our economy and at the same time helping people who need help. we're in the throes of trying to figure out if we're going to actually fund our highway system after next accident which is another example of how fiscal policy could aid your efforts. can you comment on this apparent cross purpose activity? >> so fiscal policy really has been quite tight and has imposed a substantial drag on spending in the u.s. economy over the last several years. the cbo estimated that last year the fiscal policy drag probably subtracted a percentage point and a half from growth. the drag is likely to lessen substantially during the current year, but nevertheless, there
remains some drag. of course, it is true that because there has been fiscal policy drag, the burden on monetary policy has been larger. this is true knot only in the united states but in a number of advanced countries in europe and in japan as well. my predecessor has always urged congress recognizing that there are substantial long-term budget deficit issues and a need for a sustainable physical path for the country to focus to the maximum extent possible on fiscal changes that would address the longer run issues that will be associated with rising debt-to-gdp ratio over decades and to try to avoid doing harm to the recovery, and i would take the same general position. >> but in the short run there is
a value of additional fiscal stimulation in the economy that will complement what you're already doing and make it easier for you to withdraw the quantitative easing. is that a fair comment? >> i think the economy is beginning to recover and we have made progress. and, you know, at a minimum, i would hope that fiscal policy would do no harm. >> just one other quick question you have looked at an unemployment rate of 6.5% as a point of inflection if you will. but one of the aspects of the current employment situation is that labor force participation is falling that 6.5% might not capture the reality of the current economy and be an adequate sort of measure when you should begin or how you
should begin to undertake fiscal easing are you looking beyond a similar unemployment rate to gauge your actions. >> the range of views on that among committee members is substantially lower. the central tendency is under % 6%. >> we see no need to consider possibility of raising rates. below that we begin to look more carefully. as we do so, the unemployment
rate is not a sufficient statistic to measure the health of the labor market. an additional 5%, an unusually high fraction of our labor force is working part time for economic reasons which means they're unable to get full-time work but want it. that's an additional 7 million plus americans who are involuntarily employed part time. we have unusually high fraction of americans who are unemployed and have been for substantial amounts of time. so as we go to a fuller consideration of how is the labor market performing, we need to take all of those things into account. >> thank you, madam chair. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator shelby. >> thank you. thank you, chairman yellen for being here with us and congratulations. i want to talk to you a little bit about the portfolio of the
fed. it's been mentioned. i understand it's about $4 trillion at the moment. you've tapered off some of the fed board of governors. you're still buying at the current rate, about $65 billion a month. at that rate, if you don't taper substantially or stop, you'll be getting up toward $5 trillion end of the year, more or less. is that correct? >> we are, as you say, around 4 trillion. >> but getting up to $5 trillion at the rate you're buying. >> if we don't continue to taper. >> but even if you taper and you continue to buy -- if you taper down from 65 to 50, that's still substantial buying in the market, is it not? >> it is. we've indicated that if the economy progresses as we
anticipate, we expect to continue reducing the pace of purchases in measured steps which would mean ending completely the purchases, winding down and ending some time next fall. >> in your portfolio are they mainly treasuries and mortgage-backed securities? is that what the portfolio consists of? >> yes. >> what is the relative ratio of that one to the other, relatively, just educated guess. >> i believe we have a larger quantity of treasuries than mortgage backed securities. >> you want to look at it or do you want to furnish it for the record? >> i'd be happy to furnish the exact numbers for the record. >> to unwind a portfolio of that size which is unprecedented, chairman bernanke has told us before it would be a big challenge. do you agree with that?
>> we do not need to and have no intention of quickly winding down that portfolio. >> will you -- is it your plan to keep some of the mortgage backed securities and treasuries for maturity? >> we have indicated we have no intention of selling mortgage backed securities. they will -- i think when we begin the process of normalizing monetary policy, of wanting to tighten monetary policy, we are -- we will have a look at permitting runoff out of our portfolio as these securities mature, and allowing runoff, we would bring down our portfolio over time. >> slowly. >> slowly, even without sales. and ihi